Fly Fishing Steamboat Springs Lake

Fly Fishing Steamboat Springs Lake

Spanning 1,053 acres just south of Hahn’s Peak, Steamboat Lake in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is an angler’s dream for stillwater fly fishing all year long. This manmade lake, nestled in the heart of Steamboat Lake State Park, is one of just three Colorado lakes to be designated as Gold Medal Waters. 

Surrounded by stunning views of evergreens, mountains, and the continental divide, Steamboat Springs fly fishing at Steamboat Lake is a popular destination for anglers of all skill levels who are looking for some of the finest trout fly fishing Colorado has to offer.   

If you’re angling for a great place to fly fish in Northern Colorado or if you’re planning your next trip to Steamboat Lake State Park, here is everything you need to know about Steamboat Springs fly fishing and Steamboat Lake fly fishing so you can make the most out of your next adventure.

Best Places To Fly Fish In SteamBoat Springs -Steamboat Lake Fly Fishing 

The Steamboat Lake fly fishing is awesome because the lake has several prime areas from the shore or a boat. You can also wade in to find new undiscovered spots. No matter what you prefer, experienced anglers say that the area by the dam is the best spot for Steamboat Lake fly fishing. In fact, many recommend crossing the dam to get to the opposite shore, where it’s easier to find more seclusion from the crowds, especially during summertime. 

Along with the dam area, other great spots for fly fishing on Steamboat Lake are peppered along the shoreline if you’re willing to take a short hike away from the boat launches and parking lots. 

Steamboat Lake Fly Fishing Access Points 

Boats are permitted on Steamboat Lake from May through November 1st. For boating access, you can use one of these launches:

  1. Sage Flats (southeast)
  2. Placer Cove (northeast)
  3. Dutch Hill Campground (northwest)

If you’re on foot, you’ll have your pick of shore access points. Generally, it’s a good idea to bring waders and a float tube to give yourself the freedom to explore more spots, as well as to put some distance between you and other anglers if you’re fishing during the busy season.

Best Times & Seasons for Fly Fishing on Steamboat Lake, CO

Best times to fly fish steamboat lake

The best time for Steamboat Lake fly fishing depends on your ideal fishing conditions and whether you want to camp on the grounds of this Colorado State Park. In general:

  • Spring and summer are the busy seasons. During this time, boating is permitted, and the fishing conditions are typically perfect all day long. The good weather and open campgrounds also bring out the crowds, which can make shore fishing more challenging. That’s why experienced anglers will usually hike away from crowds and/or float in to try to find more remote spots during the late spring and throughout the summer seasons.

  • Fall and winter are quieter, cooler times to fly fish on Steamboat Lake. During these seasons, boating is not allowed, and the campgrounds are closed. While that thins out the crowds, Steamboat Lake fly fishing during the fall and winter may be more difficult for the novice angler. It is, however, ideal for more avid anglers who enjoy a challenge. It’s also great for those who enjoy ice fishing.

Flies Recommended for Fly Fishing Steamboat Springs and Steamboat Lake 

Midges are generally the go-to flies for fly fishing on Steamboat Lake. Check out the following table for the best flies to use by season.





September & October

Midges, Crayfish


Mayflies, Damselflies

Mayflies, Damselflies

Olive & Black Wooly Buggers, Crayfish


Here are some more options that can land impressive catches at Steamboat Lake.




Olive & Black Wooly Buggers

Barr’s Emerger Nymph, Hare’s Ear Nymph, BH Pheasant Tail Nymph,  BH Prince Nymph

Adams Dry Fly, Blue Wing Olive, Chernobyl Ant, Elk Hair Caddis, Griffith’s Gnat White, Royal Wulff


Recommended equipment

Gear Recommended for Fly Fishing Steamboat Springs and on Steamboat Lake 

The best gear for fly fishing on Steamboat Lake also depends on your experience level, what you want to catch, and the flies you plan to use. Regardless of those specifics, you will need your fishing license and some other gear to set yourself up for a successful trip. 

Here’s the gear that’s typically recommended for Steamboat Lake fly fishing:

  • A 9-ft 5-wt fly rod with a floating line 
  • A 9-ft 6-wt rod with a sink tip fly line (for heftier catches)
  • A tapered 9-foot leader, with a tippet size of 3X to 6X (depending on the flies) 
  • A map, a guidebook, or a professional guide if you are new to the area or new to fly fishing
  • A waterproof fly box
  • Waders and/or a float tube (optional)

Steamboat Springs Lake Fly Fishing Regulations

Get familiar with the rules and regulations for fly fishing on Steamboat Lake so you can have a worry-free trip every time. These rules include (and may not be limited to) the following: 

  • All cutthroat trout are catch and release. 
  • Trout fishing on Steamboat Lake is permitted year-round.
  • There are no minimum lengths dictating what fish you can and can’t keep.
  • You can keep a total of 4 fish. Those may include 4 fish of different or the same species.

Plan a Fly Fishing Trip to Steamboat Springs and Head For Steamboat Lake

Whenever you’re ready to venture out to Steamboat Lake and try your hand at catching trout, you can rely on Riversmith for top-quality, durable equipment that will easily and safely transport your gear. Our rod tubes, rod racks, and other top-rated equipment make it simple to pack for your next fly fishing trip to Steamboat Lake, the Gunny, the Gore, the Pan, the Animas, or beyond.

At Riversmith, our anglers, engineers, and guides are always searching for new, innovative ways to solve fishermen’s problems and make their next adventure even better. We love what we do, and we are known for designing premium fly-fishing products. If fly fishing is your passion, Riversmith is here for you. 

Wherever your journey takes you, we’ll keep you geared for the catch.

1 comment

  • Mike Juenger

    Where is Riversmith located. I’m Looking for a guide, also. Where is the closest place to get a fishing lic. for out of state.
    Thanks, Mike

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